Happy Birthday, House!

Well folks, it’s official, we’ve been in this sweet little abode of ours for a full-year now. It’s hard to believe we were loading up our car with the little orange tabby and all our essentials a year ago today. I distinctly remember the first time we saw the house. Jay and I were walking around the west side of Ann Arbor on a crisp, fall day and as we turned down our (soon to be new) street I said to him, Jay, I think you’re in trouble because I want this house.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a hard core sucker for an old neighborhood with big, tall trees and quaint little bungalows lined up and down the street. I think my heart stopped just for a second the first time I turned onto this street. It felt like home.

Time flies, my friends.

Happy Birthday House

Since I recently did a before and after post on the rooms and how they’ve evolved over the last few months, I thought it would be fun to tell you a little bit about our quaint little neighborhood, and why we fell in love with our brick bungalow on Ann Arbor’s west side.

Old West Side Ann Arbor

1. It’s tried and true for a reason – location, location, location.

Our dream has always been to move to the west side of Ann Arbor. Our first house was over on the south side of town, and although there are many things we loved about that neighborhood, it kind of felt like an island within a more busy corridor.

This house is firmly planted in a residential corridor, so although we are close to many of the busier sections of town (where a lot of the shopping centers are), we are also more isolated from the hubbub. At night we could hear the highway at the old house, now we listed to the Michigan Marching band practicing for their football games, and kids playing in the park across the street.

Downtown Ann Arbor

2. Close Proximity to the Action

Although we often would ride our bikes the 4-miles it took to get into town from our last house, we are now about a mile out for the downtown core, which makes it a very easy evening walk. Whether we want to meet up with friends for a drink, or go for a walk to the local dairy, getting around by foot has become a new found priority in this house.

One of our new favorite Saturday routines is to cart ourselves downtown in the morning and go to some of our favorite local shops (Downtown Home and Garden, Treasure Mart, Kiwanis to name a few), swing by the farmers market, and grab a bite to eat. It’s the perfect way to slow down a bit and to enjoy the city we live in.

Ann Arbor Kerrytown

3. Charm and Character

From the tree-lined streets of downtown to the old homes nestled in our neighborhood, Ann Arbor had us at hello. We’ve been calling this city home for the better part of five years now, but I gotta tell you, moving to the west side makes you feel like a true townie.

One thing we’ve always loved about Ann Arbor is that it’s been able to keep it’s old town (small town) feel, while embracing density and new builds. So although there is a lot of growth in the city right now, it still feels like a quaint mid-western town.

  Ann Arbor Bike Parking

4. Car-Free Lifestyle

Being that we are so close to our work, where we shop and our friends, we often find that we go a few weeks without using our car. For us, that has lots of advantages like feeling healthier, saving lots of money, and reducing our carbon footprint, but over time, I’ve found one truly unexpected consequence of this lifestyle.

Walking to work each day has unquestionably tied me to this community in ways I never thought possible. Every morning, I chat with neighbors, construction crew and other townies as I trek the mile up to work. I see the fabric of our city in an up-close and personal way that simply wasn’t possible when I was within the confines of our car each day, commuting in. I’m present in a way that I never was before and this closeness to our community has forever changed how Jay and I view our home and the community we live in. We feel rooted and when you’re rooted, you grow.

Bach Elementary School

5. Family Friendly

Call me a lazy future mama, but the thought of ever driving my yet conceived bambinos to school is kind of cray cray to me. Perhaps it’s the fact that I grew up literally one door down from my elementary school and a stones throw away from my high school and middle school – but I love the idea of having a morning routine where I walk with my little beans each morning to drop them off at school while I cart my tuckus to work.

While I eat my oatmeal every morning I see kids on their bikes and little ones holding their papa’s hands as they all make their way to school. These simple routines speak to me. I hope that we can create those experiences for our little ones someday, too.

One thing I’m starting to learn about our culture here in Ann Arbor is that it embraces slowing down a bit. Sure, the city is chock full of ambitious, highly educated people. These people seem to embrace the notion that although they could perhaps make a higher salary off in another community, that money isn’t everything and that quality of life contributes much more to your happiness than an extra sports car in your garage.

Simple people. Simple values. Simple lives. I love that about our city. I think we will stay awhile. 🙂

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